I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Dont tell! they’d advertise – you know!
How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!
– Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson knew what was up. At this time in my life, I am nobody. I don’t mean the world doesn’t know my name type of nobody. Let me explain. I used to be a person.
The person I used to be was a teacher. People heard I was a teacher, and they knew the person I was. She’s a teacher. It always felt like an incomplete summary, but it was a complete person, and so I guess publically it was okay. I had a slot in society.
But now I’ve launched myself on a grand adventure. I’ve given up the other person to see who else I can become. The thing is, I haven’t found the new person yet. I am not this person or that person. I’m a little bit of everything; a floating speck of nobody in a sea of somebodies. Somebodies with slots.
I’ve never not been a person before. I feel like Ariel trying to stand on shore for the first time, her strong mermaid tail vanished.
Who am I now? Who dare I to be? Writer. Blogger. Entrepreneur. I am on the shore. No longer mermaid, not quite human. They say that big life changes are scary to make. They are also scary to live. So what has brought me to this scary place? Well, the scary place that I was in before.
You see I was a great teacher. Teaching is one of my talents. If I can understand something, I can teach it to someone else. It’s a talent I’ve often been proud of and loved. It’s a talent I have pushed and experimented with. It’s a talent that I’ve often pushed away.
Remember that scene in White Fang that made you cry like a baby? That’s been my relationship with teaching the past few years. Imagine this scene going on for years.
I’ve never been one of those people who knew exactly the thing they wanted. No, let me correct that. I’ve always been one of those people who know exactly what they wanted… until 6 months later when I’ve become more interested in something else.
I’ve always wanted so many things. I’ve never been the sort to stick to something. Everything was interesting. And I’d float around like the speck that I am from one thing to the next and study something, learn something, until the wind of my heart blew me onto something new. Teaching was the one constant.
You hear these motivational speeches where they say, go after what you want. But what if it isn’t one thing? Or what if that one thing is constantly changing? Ah, there’s the rub.
I have dreamed of: being a writer, a travel writer, owning a used bookstore and coffee shop, being a motivational speaker for teen girls, spending my days refurbishing and reselling used furniture, being a screenwriter, being a full-time blogger, being a designer, being a freelance writer, owning a production company, directing short films, writing a memoir, living a nomadic life, etc. ad nauseum.
I say ad nauseum because these passions have all lived actively in my heart within the past 2 years. Often they’ve overlapped.
Because Shakespeare is always relevant, let me share with you my dear Hamlet’s words.
To be, or not to be- that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them. To die- to sleep-
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die- to sleep.
To sleep- perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub!
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’ oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despis’d love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th’ unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would these fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death-
The undiscover’d country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns- puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action.
If you aren’t into Shakespeare, what Hamlet is talking about is life’s struggles and the mystery of death. He believes that we stay and fight a continuous battle with life, although we can end it, because we don’t know what we might possibly face on the other side. Hence, “in that sleep of death what dreams may come?” We “lose the name of action” when we are afraid to face the unknown. We rather fight familiar battles than take the chance of facing something unknown and possibly worse.
So there you have it. Life is full of many little battles. Most people choose to fight the daily little battles that they are familiar with instead of facing the larger war, the Dream. For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come?
What dreams may come may be of the good or bad sort. We simply don’t know. Facing the battle of a dream is daunting, both in our minds and in reality.
I have stood in doorways thinking. Sat in bed thinking. Leaned on my desk thinking. I have talked myself into and out of every possibility. I have run toward and away from my decisions.
I’ve decided to face the great war and see if I can’t come out of the dream with my dream in hand. A dream within a dream, this is getting complicated. It’s a big world out there for a floating speck.